Right Livelihood for Creative Work at Turning Wheel Media
Turning Wheel Media emerges from the generous labor of many media makers. We include voices you know and love, and also help introduce a new wave of spiritual activists whose intersectional identities and revolutionary politics help us all think more sharply about the problems our world is facing, and the resilient solutions available to us in this moment.
Now is our chance to give generously in return. To be clear: we won’t be able to pay enough to cover rent or anything, but we believe that even a small amount like $20 per person can make a difference. Over the next few days, we’ll be highlighting a few contributors to TWM, as they share what this shift toward Right Livelihood compensation would mean for them.
Through writing for Turning Wheel Media, I’m able to offer the fruit of my intellectual, activist, and dhamma practice from the last fifteen years. These are times of immense change and economic challenge in the non-profit, arts, and publishing worlds, and being offered adequate compensation for meaningful creative work is rare, much less work that helps us co-create a more just world. The ancient practice of dana (generosity) is essential to making sure I and other media makers can bring you more of our ideas, analyses, and stories. With so much information available on the internet, BPF and TWM brings you useful knowledge, insight, and questions. If you have benefited from anything you have read on TWM, please pay it forward by donating to our Right Livelihood—and ensure others after you will benefit as well.
feeling affirmed in my creativity, in my expression and in my being is an unfamiliar feeling to me; it is an act that i’m learning to do for myself and one that i’m learning to receive from others. as a desi queer womyn of radical descent, i hardly see myself reflected in the u.s. media- we are invisibilized and subjugated to the margins of exotic, token or impossible. turning wheel media counters this narrative, it goes beyond tokenization. it gives space for folks from many places of margin and intersection to visibilize themselves in the way they want to be seen and heard. and now, turning wheel not only wants to give space for us to create political and spiritual magic but also wants to help us, the contributors, sustain ourselves through compensating for our work. this feels good… really, really good. to be affirmed is a beautiful thing and i appreciate turning wheel so dearly for the affirmation that my expression is necessary and absolutely wonderful.
I have been a writer and an activist for much of my life. Offering analysis of social issues, and possible solutions, feels like a natural extension of my Buddhist practice. My desire to contribute more regularly in this way frequently comes up against the need to make ends meet financially. Even though I’ve been published in a wide variety of venues, it’s rare that I’m paid for my work. There’s an unwritten rule that social activists are supposed to “give” to the cause. That expecting any kind of pay for our work is selfish. But doesn’t this attitude just reinforce privilege, and marginalize or silence the very voices of those most suffering from injustice in our world? For many of us, writing about these issues isn’t a hobby or something that we feel is a good thing to do. A well written article, poem, story, speech transcript or drama can liberate the suffering of entire communities. But these voices need more collective support. We can’t live on thank you letters and praise.
The Palestine solidarity group I worked with set a clear boundary against allowing skilled contributions of time or labor to go uncompensated. The feeling was that it established a pattern of exploiting people’s talents, and inevitably saw people burnt out and picked off by the demands of life under capitalism. Thus, considerable time and energy was budgeted for adequately fundraising to pay people and support them materially in carrying out work on our behalf. It struck a stark contrast for me, and receiving such material support in my own work — often traveling to give trainings or presentations — I felt valuable to my peers in a way I hadn’t prior. My well-being mattered to these people, in a keenly tangible way, even if the support was modest. I felt both visible and accountable, and thus deeply connected to the work we shared.
Today we’re inviting you to support them and your other favorite Turning Wheel Media voices in the creative labor of media making. Why should our creative workers – artists, writers, poets, filmmakers – be *expected* to work for free? As BPF strives to align our practices with our values, we gain inspiration from other models of right livelihood in media:
I used to pay the bills by writing for a major marketing giant. What a welcome change of pace when I got to write an editorial for the feminist magazine Make/shift! When Make/shift offered compensation for my piece, I could opt to accept the payment or donate it back to the organization. A beautiful model of dana, generous giving. I would be excited to pay it forward to the contributors to Turning Wheel Media.” – Katie Loncke, BPF Co-Director
You can be part of making a different world possible: Donate to our “Right Livelihood” fund today to help us be a community where creative brilliance is honored, respected, and valued.
And, you can Double your dollars! The first $1,000 in contributions will be matched by a generous donor.
Dawn Haney & Katie Loncke
Co-Directors of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship
P.S. Your $100 donation would mean a lot: we could offer compensation to 5 contributors next month!